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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  July 11, 2017 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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flames in mississippi. what went wrong? close call. how a runway mistake nearly ended in disaster when a passenger plane came in for a landing in san francisco. and sharing the jackpot. how one lucky family is spreading the wealth, and inspiring america. "nightly news" begins right now. >> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. we start with a bombshell chain of e-mails breathing new life into the question of whether the trump campaign colluded with russian operatives to boost his chances. the potentially damaging messages were revealed today by president trump's eldest son, in a startling admission donald trump jr.
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releasing e-mails today that confirm he met last year with someone described as a russian government attorney, who the president's son was told had dirt on hillary clinton. the e-mails making it clear that the russian government was supporting trump. you'll hear our exclusive interview with that official in a few moments. but first, national correspondent peter alexander with today's surprising revelations. >> reporter: tonight what donald trump jr. knew and when he knew it in black and white. on june 3rd, 2016, a trusted associate e-mails trump jr. that one of donald trump's former business partners had been contacted by a senior russian government official, and was offering the trump campaign information that would incriminate hillary clinton and her dealings with russia, and would be very useful to your father. adding, this is
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obviously very high level and sensitive information. but is part of russia and its government support for mr. trump. minutes later, trump jr.'s reply, if it's what you say, i love it. june 7th, after trading several e-mails, the associate suggests a meeting at trump tower with the russian government attorney who's flying over from moscow for this. trump jr. agrees, adding it's likely he'll bring paul manafort and my brother-in-law, jared kushner. mr. trump promises more dirt on clinton. >> i think you'll find it very informative. >> reporter: the next day kushner and manafort are added to the e-mail chain. they met at trump tower with natalia. where are your 33,000 e-mails that you deleted? within a week, the first in a flood of leaks believed to be the result of russian hackers. there's no evidence the information trump jr. was promised was connected to that. the next month, trump jr. attacks the
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clinton campaign for suggesting a russian plot to help his father. >> it's disgusting. it's so phony, they will lie and do anything to win. >> reporter: trump jr. who's offered shifting explanations about the meeting today posting the e-mail exchange on twitter, earning praise from the president. my son is a high-quality person, and i applaud his transparency. but the younger trump only shared the e-mails after "the new york times" says it informed him it was about to publish them. on capitol hill, fierce criticism. >> this is moving into perjury, false statements, and even into potentially treason. >> reporter: trump jr. in a statement saying he thought the information would be political opposition research. still, he contradicts the same e-mails he posted, saying veselnitskaya had no information to provide. and insisting the meeting occurred before the current russian fever was in vogue. tonight here at the
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white house, aides close to the president say he's frustrated with the focus on russia, notably he >> reporter: tonight natalia veselnitskaya, where she's described as a russian government attorney and part of russia, and its government support for mr. trump. here, donald trump jr. is told that they want to schedule a meeting with him, and the russian government attorney who is flying over from moscow. the russian government attorney. that means you. >> no, i'm certainly flattered by being called as a government attorney. but i've never worked for the government in the first place. >> reporter: she said that meeting with donald trump jr., jared kushner and campaign chairman paul
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manafort was arranged by russian pop star and publicist. but that she never met either of them beforehand. once inside, she says, only one person talked to her. >> he was the only one i was speaking to. >> reporter: she said she was there to lobby against a law she said was affecting her client, a well-connected russian, a law that also imposed sanctions on russia. but she says he was interested in information about possible illegal donations to democrats. >> i can tell you right now, i have never referred to any compromising information about miss
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clinton. >> reporter: she says kushner left after 7 to 10 minutes of the 20 to 30-minute meeting, and that manafort was not paying attention. >> the man was constantly looking at his phone. >> reporter: they had the impression, it appears, that they were going to be told some information that you had about the dnc. how did they get that impression? >> it might be their desire to see that in my story. from the story i was telling them about. and they saw only something they were interested in. >> reporter: she wanted the trump team to help her testify before congress, about changing u.s. law. she says, donald trump jr. told her they'd get back to her if they won. lester? >> kier simmons in moscow tonight. let's turn to savannah guthrie, the resident attorney and washington veteran. savannah, folks following around the edges of this russia story, what just happened here today? did it cross into a new legal territory? >> i think we've seen
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a piece of evidence that would be quite compelling to the mueller investigator, the special counsel looking into this. now has an incredibly compelling piece of evidence. it comes from donald trump jr. himself and signals a willingness not just to get information that's damaging to hillary clinton, but that he knows it's from the russian government, or it's purported to be from the russian government and greets it enthusiastically. even thinking about when would it be best to deploy that information, saying late summer would be great. so yes, potentially there's legal exposure, but people should take a deep breath. i can assure you this is just one piece of the puzzle that bob mueller is looking into. he will place it in context with regard to other e-mails. he'll be looking to interviews these witnesses. the statutes we're talking about can be pretty technical and pretty complicated.
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but when you're talking to federal investigators, then you start the risk of false statement, a perjury charge. the legal exposure is all over this place. >> what about the political exposure? the president's called this a witch hunt in the past. blamed democrats and the press. >> that's the biggest issue here, it's hard to call it a witch hunt when this evidence is not fake news, it's coming from your own son. as i just outlined, it acknowledges a lot of things that have been denied at the highest level by the president himself. so this is a political problem right now. it might be a legal problem down the road. political problem right now. the ones to watch are republicans in congress, how much stomach do they have to carry the water for this president when they don't know what the next shoe is to drop. >> savannah, always good to have you here with us. thank you very much. now to a deadly tragedy for the u.s. military. in mississippi, a marine transport plane fell out of the sky during a training mission, killing all 16 service members aboard. tonight the cause is still a mystery. nbc news pentagon correspondent hans nichols has details. >> reporter: tonight the pentagon says 15 marines and one navy corpsman were on the cargo plane flattened in a soybean field killing everyone onboard. first responders finding debris strewn across several miles, and witnesses heard a midair explosion. the kc-130 took off from north carolina, headed for california. while over mississippi, at 20,000 feet, the plane lost
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contact with air traffic control, and began to lose altitude. an eyewitness reported seeing smoke from the plane as it twirled down. >> it was like a stunt plane, acrobatic deal, the way it was nose diving down. >> reporter: sometime before impact, it turned over, hitting the ground upside down, with almost no skid marks. the air crew attached to the reserve squadron 452 based in new york. some of the marines from camp lejeune, north carolina. calling the kc-130 one of the safest planes in the fleet. >> if there wasn't a may day call or any kind of communication, that would suggest whatever occurred in flight at 20,000 feet was instantaneous. >> reporter: the deadliest marine corps crash since 1995. the families of those killed are being
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notified. but officials have confirmed that among the dead are six marines and one sailor who were members of an elite special operations unit. the marine raiders. lester? >> hans nichols at the pentagon tonight, thank you. the battle over a bill to repeal and replace obamacare has become so heated, senators will now have to work through part of their vacation later this summer in an effort to approve a new plan. kasie hunt reports on the compromise. >> reporter: the republican path to obamacare uncertain tonight majority leader mitch mcconnell announcing he's forcing senators to stay in washington an extra two weeks to get a deal. >> we intend to utilize the two weeks in august. >> reporter: still at a fever pitch. now on a conservative proposal from ted cruz to let people buy cheaper insurance. if they're willing to trade away the essential health benefits like maternity care or mental health services. >> expanding consumer freedom, letting you the consumer choose which insurance you want to purchase. >> reporter: they can only lose two votes.
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it could drive up prices for sicker americans. lindsey graham is already talking about cracking a deal with democrats. >> there's an emerging new approach that i will talk to you in the next 24 to 48 hours. >> reporter: he's already approached joe manchin from west virginia where one in three people rely on medicaid. >> we're not going to go down that path. sitting down and repairing what's wrong. we can do that. >> reporter: in virginia, kim crowley is concerned about medicaid, too. her son has a rare birth defect born before obamacare was law. >> when he was 15 months old he hit his maximum. that was $2 million. >> reporter: now she relies on medicaid. >> we didn't need medicaid before isaac. this could happen to anybody. anybody could have a child with a need. anybody could suffer a catastrophic accident tomorrow. >> the negotiations are continuing. republicans now planning to keep some of the taxes on the wealthy that were part
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of obamacare, and they insist they're on track to release a new version of the bill on thursday. lester? >> kasie hunt at the capitol. thank you. thousands of police officers converge in a church in new york to remember an officer assassinated by a gunman last week. the 48-year-old mother of three was only the third woman in the new york city police department to be killed in the line of duty. nbc's ron allen tonight with the emotional tribute. >> i love you, mom. >> reporter: officer familia's three children, mourning their mom. >> words can't explain how i feel right now. >> reporter: hailed as a hero. thousands of officers from across the country and as far away as australia, paying their respects to a girl from the neighborhood, the youngest of ten. first to graduate college. always determined to serve. first, nursing, and later in her 30s realizing her dream of becoming a cop. murdered the night of
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the fourth of july in a police command vehicle by an ex con on patrol who police say was mentally ill and angry at cops. >> i want her legacy to be full of love. love is what we have to do. >> reporter: familia is the seventh nypd officer killed in five years. across the nation, officer deaths spiking to 135 last year. today new york's police commissioner urged the public to look out for officers like familia. >> she was targeted and ambushed and assassinated. she wasn't given a chance to defend herself. that should matter to every single person who can hear my voice in new york city and beyond. >> reporter: familia today promoted to detective was laid to rest exactly 12 years to the day she joined the nypd. an officer and a mom named for a flower that means, forget me not. nbc news, new york. we'll take a short break. when we come back, runway mistake.
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a very close call when a passenger plane almost lands on a taxiway crowded with four other planes. we'll look at how this disaster almost unfolded. also, human chain rescue. dramatic images of strangers joining hands to save a family from drowning. hope you can stay with us.
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we're back now with a close call involving an air canada jet that almost landed on a san francisco taxiway
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crowded with four other jets. had the plane touched down, it could have caused one of the worst disasters in aviation history. we get details from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: at the last minute, disaster averted in san francisco. an airbus a-320 nearly landing on a taxiway where four other planes were preparing to depart. it was just before midnight friday when the air canada pilots arriving from toronto seemed confused about landing on runway 28 right. suddenly other pilots issued a warning and controllers ordered
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air canada to go around. there's that taxiway. at flight deck anaheim, retired pilot demonstrated how a crew might confuse taxiway charlie for runway right. >> if this accident were not averted, we're talking perhaps a thousand lives, four, five aircraft involved. >> reporter: there have been close calls before, earlier this year harrison ford flew right over the top of an american airlines plane landing on a taxiway instead of the runway in orange county. >> bottom line is, these pilots are going to be interviewed by a lot of investigators. they've got a lot of questions to answer. they're not going anywhere for a while. >> tonight both the faa and air canada say they're investigating what could have been a deadly mistake. tom costello, nbc news, washington. why fans may start noticing something a bit different about america's favorite
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frog.
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it looks like the olympic games are returning to the united states. it's just a matter of when. the international olympic committee today unanimously approved a plan and break tradition and award two cities with the summer games, los angeles and paris. one would get them in 2024 the other in '28. they're still hashing out who goes first, with paris the rumored front-runner. a remarkable rescue effort as word spread that a family was trapped in the water about 80 beachgoers formed a human chain to rescue them. there was no lifeguard on duty so they all joined hands to reach nine members of the family who were swept out by a rip current. after nearly an hour, all of the stranded family members were brought safely to shore. one of the world's most famous frogs is getting a new voice. we're talking about
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kermit the frog whose voice has been played for the last 27 years by steve whitmeyer who is moving on. he'll be replaced by another veteran actor who will be the only third voice of kermit since the muppet character was created in 1955. when we come back, they won a huge powerball jackpot and what they're doing with some of their millions might surprise you and inspire you. ===raj vo===
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we )re following breaking news.. 2 fires. one prompting evacuations and burning homes in the south bay. ===jess vo=== plus, a scrap metal yard fire is pouring thick smoke into east bay nighborhoods. we )ll have live reports from both.
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===next close=== next. finally tonight, what if it were you, how would you spend one of those massive powerball jackpots? one new jersey family is getting to live out that fantasy with hundreds of millions they won a year ago. but rather than just splurging on the usual things, they're planning on spending the money where it could do some good. how they're inspiring america. >> reporter: a moment we all dream of. >> i guess all of you are thinking you wish you was me right now, right? >> reporter: last year when the smith family from trenton, new jersey, split a lump sum of $284 million after taxes, they knew exactly what they would spend it on. >> the foundation went into play before we even cashed in the lottery ticket. >> reporter: their first focus, starting a foundation to give millions away. >> we've all been involved in work to help the community, and all we say is, god just now financed us. >> reporter: mom was a pastor who always
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taught her children the value of hard work. they still visit the house where they grew up. you guys still own it? >> my money is having it rehabbed. her plan is to let someone who's homeless, or in need of a place to stay live here for free. >> reporter: and so it is on these streets where they are now giving back. $16 million so far. school supplies for trenton kids, a business training program for area youth, and grants to organizations like the special parent advocacy group, helping special needs children. >> for them to give back and invest their money into the community and the city of trenton, it's wonderful. >> reporter: now, they did spend some on themselves. >> i bought a bigger house. and is new subaru. >> the only thing different about me is i put shrimp in my ramen noodles. >> reporter: the smiths know it's about what money can't buy. >> we're here because
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we love the city and we want to see it grow and prosper and develop. >> reporter: home where their hearts and now their millions are. kristen dahlgren, nbc news. good folks paying their fortune forward. we appreciate you spending part of your evening with us. that is "nightly news" for this tuesday night. i'm lester holt and for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. we )re tracking two firee bay area. >>. right now at 6:00. breaking news tracking two fires in the bay area. one is at an east bay iron and metal facility. that is sending the thick smoke billowing and prompting warnings about the air quality.
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the other one is down in san jose blazing now. live at both fires with the very latest with you. good evening, and thanks for joining us. i am jessica aguirre. >> and i am raj mathai. danger in the smoke that is spreading. now let's start in san jose. our sky ranger remaining over head. evacuations are underway at -- the fire could really take off if it reaches that terrain. this is well above the san jose country club. ian cull joins us. what is the latest from your
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vantage point? >> reporter: there is a lot of concern. people getting out of their cars and looking up at the massive plumes of smoke. if we can zoom in on the left side of the fire there, is a strike team from

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